Grace MacKenna has a problem – actually, she has two. At sixteen, she loses her family and is sent to live in Boston with her greedy aunt. Then she discovers she has something called “subtle vision” that allows her to see spirits. But not the spirits of her family, who have crossed fully to the other side. Grace sees the spirits trapped in limbo on Earth, who must complete their business before they can escape.
Her first spirit confrontation occurs when she inherits Crossings, her stepfather’s house in Maryland. It is haunted by William Kavanaugh, a young man murdered during the Civil War who needs her help in solving the mystery of his death so he can move on.
It takes her a while to figure everything out, being distracted by the maneuvers needed to occupy her new home without her guardians and understand the “subtle vision.” When she trips over Clay Baxter, a recovering young veteran just home from Afghanistan, upon moving in, more conflict comes into play. He’s “a ruffian and a gentleman all in one package”; “night to my day, truck to my Volvo, grease to my silk, bedroll to my egg-roll.” He’s also twenty and can’t approach Grace as he desires because she’s a minor (and he happens to be engaged). To make matters even more complicated, Grace thinks she’s in love with William, who becomes progressively more solid as she masters her perceptive powers.Clay worries that Grace is being pulled, dangerously, more and more into the world of the dead.
Grace’s physical and emotional reactions to the paranormal are convincingly portrayed by the author. Koontz grounds the story in the area’s history, teaching readers about the Civil War era while riveting us with suspense—all in a Gothic undertone of ghosts and graves, shadows and groaning doors. Grace is believably mature for her age while intermittently reverting to the normal insecurities of being at the crossroads of teenager and young adult. This makes her character even more to root for. The plot-line twists and turns adding suspense, the setting is, well,vividly haunting, and the author adds a dash of wit and humor to the mix while the characters are rich and complex.
“Crossing Into the Mystic” is the launch volume of this paranormal mystery trilogy that crosses genres (YA+) told in a bright, new-adult voice. Also, while the central story is resolved nicely enough, there is plenty to entice the reader to look forward to the next two books.